THEWORLDTODAY.ORG NOVEMBER 2008
COMPETING ENERGY SOURCES
Antony Froggatt, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW, ENERGY, ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME, CHATHAM HOUSE.
More time and money is spent on nuclear power than
any other form of energy. Yet its generating capacity –
even with new reactors – and potential contribution to
cutting greenhouse gasses, is much less than other
methods. The funds should follow tried technologies
offering greater returns.
t HE POTENTIAL ROLE OF NUCLEAR
continues to dominate the energy debate. This
is extremely unfortunate as this does not
reflect nuclear’s current or potential
contribution to the energy mix.
Nuclear power provides Britain with
around eighteen percent of its electricity, nine percent of
energy production, but just 3.5 percent of the final energy
that is consumed. The difference between energy production
and consumption results from the energy lost during
transformation and transmission. For this source of
POWER result in only six percent of the required overall emissions
reduction. At very best, nuclear power can only ever have a
minor role in reducing greenhouse gas.
This theoretical assumption excludes the wider
environmental and economic implications and in particular
those relating to the proliferation of nuclear weapons
usable material, the transfer of dual-use, civil-military
technology, and the availability of high concentration
uranium, that will potentially restrict the use of nuclear
power, in particular on this scale.
Energy efficiency is the most important means identified
power to make a significant contribution to British and, by the International Energy Agency to create a stable climate.
more importantly, global energy supply, its use would Supply and demand efficiency and fuel switch measures
have to increase enormously. account for approximately half the potential savings.
According to the International Energy Agency’s 2050 Renewable energy provides the second largest share of future
scenarios, to meet carbon dioxide reductions in line with emissions reduction, at more than twenty percent. This
an acceptable two degrees Celsius increase in mean global effectively means that greater supply and demand efficiency,
temperatures, the current use of nuclear power could coupled with the greater use of renewabl